Final Vote Expected on Same-Sex Marriage Bill
By Wendy Osher
The Hawaiʻi Senate convenes at 10 a.m. today to consider the proposed House amendments to Senate Bill 1, Relating to Same Sex Marriage in the state.
If the bill is passed on final reading today, it would be sent to the governor. If the Senate disagrees, the bill would be sent back to conference committee to negotiate differences.
Today’s vote comes following consistent advancement of the measure in both chambers and 57 hours of testimony from thousands of individuals during committee review in the state House.
SB1 HD1 recognizes marriages between individuals of the same gender by extending to same-sex couples the same rights, benefits, protections, and responsibilities that married couples of the opposite-sex are presently entitled to.
The bill also expands a religious exemption, and changes the start date to December 2, 2013, instead of November 18, 2013 to allow time for department implementation.
Since the beginning of the special session on October 28, the bill has passed a series of legislative approvals that included the following:
- Oct. 28, 2013: SB1 passes its first hurdle as the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor advances the bill by a vote of five to two.
- Oct. 30, 2013: The Senate voted 20 to 4 to pass a bill on third and final reading, with all three Maui Senators (Roz Baker, J. Kalani English, and Gil Keith-Agaran) voting in favor of the measure.
- Nov. 5, 2013: After an unprecedented five days of public testimony, the state House committees on Judiciary and Finance advance SB1 in an 18 to 12 vote with Maui Representative Kaniela Ing and Kyle Yamashita voting in support for the bill; and fellow Representatives Justin Woodson and Mele Carroll both voicing opposition to the measure.
- Nov. 6, 2013: The state House of Representatives votes 30-18 to advance the bill with amendments on second reading.
- Nov. 8, 2013: The state House passes SB1 HD1, on third and final reading late Friday night in a 30-19 vote, with yes votes from Maui Representative(s) Kaniela Ing, Kyle Yamashita, Angus McKelvey, and Joe Souki; and no votes from Maui Representative(s) Justin Woodson and Mele Carroll.
The Senate’s floor session will be broadcast live by Capitol TV and streamed online.
There is also limited public seating at the Capitol with street level entry doors opening at approximately 9:30 a.m. To ensure public safety, legislative officials say individuals entering the chambers will be subject to a bag check and metal detector screening.